Mount Si football makes it .500

 Mount Si defenders Chaz Blair, number 34, and Jordan Karavias, number 52, take down Mercer Island quarterback Jeff Lindquist during play Friday. - Photo courtesy Calder Productions
Mount Si defenders Chaz Blair, number 34, and Jordan Karavias, number 52, take down Mercer Island quarterback Jeff Lindquist during play Friday.
— image credit: Photo courtesy Calder Productions

Mount Si’s football team played their brand of football last Friday night, Oct. 9 --- tough and physical.

The Wildcats needed every last drop of energy from everyone on the field in order to dampen Mercer Island’s homecoming party, and they got it, finding their way to a 3-3 record as a result.

“Our offense won the first half and our defense won the second half for sure,” said Wildcat coach Charlie Kinnune, as Mount Si survived a last-ditch Islander comeback attempt for a 21-13 win. Joe Farmer, Chaz Blair, and Donny Hendrickson all scored first-half touchdowns to aid the Wildcats. Then it was the defense’s turn to make things happen.

“It was a gutty performance,” Kinnune said. “We knew that Mercer Island kind of plays into our weaknesses with spreading the field, so it was very, very important that we hung on defensively.”

It did not start out well for Mount Si. Their offense stalled out inside the Islander 30-yard line on their first drive, which ended on a missed fourth down conversion. Mercer Island got the ball, and a 47-yard run by running back Steven Taylor helped them get their first score of the game. Islander quarterback Jeff Lindquist threw a nine-yard touchdown strike to Ben Emanuels to help put them up 7-0.

The Wildcats responded on offense and were able to tie the game midway through the first frame at 7-7. Mount Si quarterback Chris Clark threw an 18-yard strike to a wide-open Farmer in the end zone for the touchdown.

The Wildcats then scored twice in the second quarter. First, it was Blair from about two inches out who found the end zone.

“The line got a great push and I was able to push it in,” Blair said.

Just before halftime, Hendrickson ran in for the score from one yard out to make it 21-7 going into the break.

Defender time

Then the defense stood up, and there were a number of big plays in the second half. First, in the third quarter, Wildcat lineman Jordan Karavias intercepted a pass from Lindquist. Karavias made it look real easy, too.

“I just stopped and (I) knew they were going to run the screen by the way the quarterback was backing up. I was just lucky they threw right to me,” Karavias said.

Lindquist got revenge on the next Islander possession, running three yards for a touchdown. Mount Si special-teamer Lars Swenson blocked the resulting point after, and it was 21-13 at this point.

Midway through the final frame, with the Islanders marching down for the tie, MI was forced to turn the ball over on downs after a sack of Lindquist by Wildcat Kasey Channita. It was a boost to his confidence.

“I really think it’s a great step for me, because I’m only a junior,” Channita said. “I’m getting up there. I’m starting now. I’ve got to do my thing.”

Mount Si’s offense wasn’t able to take advantage of that resulting offensive possession, despite the heroic efforts of backup quarterback Ian Ilgenfritz, so the Islanders got one last drive to tie. They made it all the way to the Wildcat 26-yard line, and had one shot to tie with three seconds left. Lindquist heaved a pass toward the corner of the end zone, and Mount Si’s defense made one last play to close the door.

After the postgame handshake, players and coaches went to the student section and celebrated with Mount Si fans, a scene reminiscent of one two years ago when the Wildcats had to rally from down 20-0 to win on the island.

Mount Si has homecoming Friday against Sammamish. Game time is 7 p.m.

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